Close to 2 400 new medical interns have been recruited as the country continues to deal with the growing number of COVID-19 cases and a struggling health system.
The Health Department says that this move is the biggest intern allocation programme in history, adding that the 2 369 locally recruited interns will be joined by 41 peers, who studied abroad and have passed their exams.
The team will be integrated into the public healthcare system across the country this year to help ease the burden on the current healthcare workers.
SA will also welcome more than 650 graduates from the Nelson Mandela Fidel Castro Cuba Medical Programme, who will begin their reintegration projects in preparation for their qualifications to practice in South Africa.
Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, has said that human resources for health are the first pillar of the Presidential Health Compact.
“Its premier position amongst the nine pillars highlights the significance government places on strengthening and sustaining human resources for the health care sector. Without doctors, there is no health care system,” he said.
Gauteng will be allocated 698 medical interns, KwaZulu-Natal 550, Western Cape 322, Eastern Cape 216, North West 148, Limpopo 144, Free State 105, Mpumalanga 91 and Northern Cape 42.
The South African Military Health Service will also welcome 19 trainees.
Mkhize said that he is extremely proud of the department’s achievement that will ensure the continued growth of South Africa's medical fraternity.
“Having met some of these bright young colleagues, I am always left inspired by their passion, enthusiasm and willingness to contribute not only to the fight against COVID-19 but also to the attainment of Universal Health Coverage.”
As of Thursday, the country's COVID-19 death toll had increased to 12 618, while a total of 599 940 people had been infected with the virus since the outbreak.
Thankfully, the national recovery rate stands at 497,169 leaving SA with a total of 90,153 active cases. Globally, according to Worldometers, the total number of reported Covid-19 cases stand at 22,874,533. Of this amount, 15,527,216 people have recovered while 797,271 patients have unfortunately died as a result of infection.